Collegians eye Olympic Trials

Five wrestlers with eligibility remaining look for elusive berth

To make an Olympic team requires a special commitment from a special athlete. Usually that commitment includes a full-time dedication to that particular discipline.

In other words, rarely do American high schoolers or collegians make the United States’ freestyle or Greco-Roman wrestling squads. Continue reading at

Sanders in search of Olympic glory

Zach Sanders’ collegiate wrestling career wrapped up a little more than a month ago with what he called a disappointing third-place finish at the NCAA championships in St. Louis.

This weekend, he will hit the mat in Iowa with a trip to London on the line.

Sanders is one of six wrestlers with ties to Minnesota’s wrestling program competing this weekend in the 2012 USA Olympic Trials in Iowa City, Iowa. Continue reading at

Olympic Trials: New faces, same game: The younger look of USA Wrestling

Jesse Thielke has a look about him — a solemn, pensive facial expression.

He carries it with him into every wrestling match, and it never changes during his time on the mat. He’s strictly business during his bouts.

“You have to get over being nervous in this sport,” he said. “I know when I go out there, I have the advantage. Only I can take myself out.”

This is normal for a weathered veteran in the sport — but Thielke, 19, showcased it at his state championship match a year ago. Continue reading at

After prison release, state wrestler free to pursue Olympic dream

When Dan Chandler answered his phone on that April day in 2010, the number wasn’t familiar. The voice, however, was. “Hey, this is Jordan,” the caller said. “I was just wondering if you guys still have Greco practice.”

Jordan Holm didn’t expect his former coach to remember him. Years ago, Chandler had guided the Northfield native to a junior national title in Greco- Roman wrestling, during a time when Holm also won two high school state championships. That was before his promising college career came to an abrupt and shocking end, when Holm was imprisoned in Iowa for third-degree sexual abuse — a crime he steadfastly maintains he did not commit. Continue reading at

One-on-One with Dustin Schlatter

Dustin Schlatter is an Olympic hopeful in freestyle at 66 kilos. In November, Schlatter won the New York AC International in his first competition since dropping down from 74 kilos. He was member of the U.S. World Team in 2009.

As a collegiate competitor at the University of Minnesota, Schlatter was an NCAA champion as a true freshman and three-time All-American. He finished his collegiate career with a record of 114-10. His .919 career winning percentage ranks fourth in program history behind only Larry Zilverberg (.948), Brock Lesnar (.948), and Cole Konrad (.922). Continue reading at

Living the Dream Medal Fund pushes wrestlers to stay with sport

Johny Hendricks is a two-time NCAA wrestling champion. On August 6 he made $44,000 for beating Mike Pierce in a UFC fight with no title implications; he was guaranteed half of the purse just for competing. In 2011 he fought three times, earning more than $150,000 from the UFC.

Jordan Burroughs is also a two-time NCAA wrestling champion. On September 18 he made $50,000 for winning the freestyle world championships. The gold medal means Burroughs was the best 163-pound wrestler in the world in 2011 and it makes him a favorite to win gold at the 2012 Olympics, but without endorsements Burroughs earned less than one-third of what he could have made as a mediocre UFC fighter in 2011. Continue reading at